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This letter was written to Lee Standefer from Waid Scott Willis, SR
November 20, 1949

Contributed by Jim Standifer.  Thanks, Jim!

Waid Scott Willis, Sr.
Seaforth Sod – Palo Alto Road
San Antonio, Texas


Sunday, 20th November 1949

Mr. Lee Standefer
Dunlap, Tennessee 

Dear Mr. Standefer,

A few weeks ago, I had written Dr. R. E. Standefer, Dunlap, Tennessee about the history of his family of Standefer’s migration into Tennessee.  Among the several he mentioned as possibly having valuable data, was your name.  I did not write because I thought maybe you were his own branch of Standefers and you would have his data, but I know you could be the same family, and probably be out of touch with that knowledge now.

I am a Standefer through Anne Standefer a daughter of Luke Standefer and his wife Mary Anne Price.  Her father Joseph Shores Price, and Luke Standefer his son in law, are both used by my daughter for a D.A.R. Foundation, and I think James Standefer, Sr., will soon be accepted.  It should go through with ease.

The family from the records I have must have been in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, before that in Halifax County, Southwestern Virginia.  Then Henry was cut off from Pittsylvania County and they were in that County until Franklin County was cut off from Henry County, and they were in Franklin County, Virginia.  Here at Waidsboro, my Waids, Barbours, Fergusons, Standefers, all lived and I suspect attended the same Baptist Church or Quaker Groups.  Bookers are of this community also.  My mother used to tell me of a little Negro boy whom the Bookers sold just before the Civil War for forty dollars because he wasn’t much good.  After the War he attended a school for Negroes and was told he was just as good as the whites now, and he had to have three names so he could prove it.  So the little fuzzy head came up shortly with Booker The Washington.

I have charted some of these families, and tried to follow them across the Mississippi into Texas, and farther West to San Francisco.  Jacob L. Standefer and William Bailey Standefer fought at San Jacinto, with Sam Houston.  In that fight, my Wades, Willises, Mills, Lamars, Hunts, all fought under Sam Houston.  These families you may not recall offhand, all came just north of Rockymount, Virginia, the County Seat of Franklin County.  Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, Bigfoot Wallace, came from right around Rockbridge County in Timberridge  community, south of Lexington, Virginia.  Houston Wade fought at San Jacinto and a great-grandson of his has written interestingly of many Texas incidents, this Houston Wade was related to Sam Houston, and his family live a short distance away from here at Schulenburg, Texas on the old Standefer League.  A daughter of Luke Standefer named Anne Stander married Captain Robert Waid of Waidsboro, and this is my descent.

Sam Houston’s widow died in the home of Caroline Willis in Galveston, Texas.  She was a daughter of Pete Willis who came in with Old Captain King, of the King _________, and Pete Willis fought on the flagship of the Pirate Jean Lafittee at the Battle of New Orleans, under General Andrew Jackson, where one of the regiments was commanded by one of our Standefers from Franklin County, Virginia.  Charles Carter Mills my family, brother of my three greats removed grandmother, Polly (Mary) Mills whose sister Nancy Mills Mercer founded Mercer Macon University of Georgia, married Sarah Lamar Stokes of the Wade Stokes Family of Franklin County, and she was a niece of Mirebeau Bonaparte Lamar who commanded all the Cavalry at San Jacinto, and who was the second President after Sam Houston, and third Governor of Texas.  These Families of ours have been the very heart of the Texas Revolution and the early Mexican Wars.  I have contacted these Standefers in California, all over Texas, and down in Venezuela and Canal Zone.  They all sound exactly like the same Family,  It seems everyone I have run across came form Marion of Sequatchie or Bledsoe Counties, Tennessee, but so far they have not carried themselves back to ole Virginny where they belong.

Dr. R. E. Standefer gave ___ a lot that son…….sounded like it would connect back in Franklin County, Virginia.  Back there James Standiford, Sr., or Standifer or Standefer, or maybe Stanford, and I am inclined to think that the name will first be spelled Standford, but James, Sr. had Jacob Standefer, James Standefer, Jr., and Luke Standefer, and William Standefer, while there was both an Isaac and an Israel or the name was used for one person.  I am not able to clear it up yet.  I know quite a lot of work has been done Standifords, and this work may be our own family there.  In Franklin County, there were Rentfroes and Standefers who intermarried extensively, and they all moved into Tennessee.  Just where they scattered to, I am attempting right now to find out to get a few dates, and a few more complete charts on the family.  There was also Sally Standefer and Naomi Standefer.  Once several generations ago, an old man and his old wife sat in the waiting room of the president of Harvard University, awaiting admittance, but they waited for three whole days before he took the time to see them.  Then this old gentleman apologetically said he had waited the three days because he wished to ask one question only and wanted it to be answered correctly.  “How much money will it take to set a university like Harvard is now?”  The president, briefly, but condescendingly and kindly answered “One hundred million dollars”.  The old man turned to his wife and said, “Why mom we’ve got just about that much, we can do it.  He did, he set up Leland Stanford University out at Stanford California patterned after Harvard University. 

When I had run into quite a bit of work done on Standefers I have wondered who did it and if it could have been any of the this family?  I am not sure they even belong, but I have run into some peculiar things in this families, and where these families are worked out at all, it has taken some one’s money on the drumhead to do it.  The Standefers or Standifords are pretty well searched out.  Do you know anyone who has done an exceptional amount of work on them?

I’ll be awfully glad to hear from you.  I am a farmer, live here on the Medi River Bank.  I lost my only son at the close of the last War and am just exiting now, wondering why I could not have gone on instead of Waid Junior.  I’ve a daughter Patti Willis, named after of Willises, of Orange County and King George Counties Families of the Willises.  The First owner of Mt. Vernon’s 2500 A was Mildred Willis the wife of Henry Willis of Fredericksburg, Virginia.  She was the Aunt of George Washington, and the last owners of Mt. Vernon were Colonel John Washington and his wife, Fanney Willis, their oldest daughter was named Patti Willis Washington, so you can see Patti Willis is an old name among my families.  When I contacted Luke Price Standefer, at Box 282, Cocoli, Canal Zone, I found there were five Luke Price Standefers in direct line for three greats removed grandfather to Luke Price Standefer, Jr. at Pasadena, near Houston, Texas and Luke Price Standefer’s only sister was named Joanne Standefer.  The grandmother of Maryanne Price was Anne Shores and my mother name was Martha Susanne Waid and her mother Adrianne.  We have stayed with our common and given names here pretty well.

Most sincerely yours, Waid Scott Willis, Sr.

I’d like to know if you can tell me about where the records of Marion County might be found.  I did not write Dunlap for their Court Records are they still there or at Nashville, I mean the early ones.  I wrote Pikeville for Bledsoe County Records, but so far have not had anyone who does that kind of work answer me.

Signed: Waid Scott Willis, Sr.                                                                                         

If you have a comment regarding this letter, I will post it here!

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